Matthew Stevens beat Neil Robertson to advance to the Haikou World Open final on Saturday, where he will meet Mark Allen, conqueror of John Higgins.
Stevens triumphed 6-5 against former world No. 1 Robertson in a tense semi-final, slotting an impressive 51 in the final frame to close out the match. Victory books his first ranking event showpiece for half a decade.
He had to overcome both his opponent and the referee early on, after Eirian Williams played a significant role in frame four – won by Robertson to level at 2-2. Williams incorrectly replaced the balls from a Stevens foul, ignoring the help of television technology, leaving a difficult black that Stevens later missed.
Robertson could not find any rhythm though and, a 107 break in frame eight aside, he fell to the more consistent player. Stevens made runs of 52, 69, 79, 55, 65 and 60 before his closing 51, showing the form that accounted for Judd Trump earlier in the competition.
Stevens will now meet Allen, who dominated Higgins 6-2, in the final.
Higgins actually made the better start with an opening run of 90, which chalked up his 12th straight frame in the tournament.
However, a classy 119 from Allen levelled the scores before they headed for the first interval locked at 2-2.
A solid 56 helped Allen into a 4-2 lead upon resumption, before an 81 took him to within one frame of the match. He wasted no time closing it out, sinking a brilliant long red en route to victory.
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